Traffic Court Judge Willie Singletary may well be the poster child for why judges should be selected on a merit-based system and not elected by a public that doesn’t know them.
Singletary is the controversial 30-year-old judge who has been suspended without pay by the state Supreme Court after he allegedly showed a picture of his penis to a female staffer. Adding insult to injury, sources said Singletary had allegedly confronted the woman in an attempt to get her to withdraw the complaint.
In its order, the Supreme Court said Singletary is “hereby relieved of any and all judicial and administrative responsibilities as a judge of the Philadelphia Traffic.”
While Singletary has not had due process yet and should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, it appears that the courts have corrected a mistake made by voters by removing Singletary as a Traffic Court judge.
Singletary is no stranger to controversy.
Singletary, the founding pastor of a West Philadelphia church, was elected in 2007 to the post that pays $85,000 a year even though his driver’s license was suspended because he had amassed $11,500 in traffic-related fines. Singletary is not a lawyer and the job of Traffic Court judge does not require a law degree.
A video posted to YouTube shows Singletary seeking campaign donations at a 2007 biker rally that suggest campaign contributors would get favorable treatment in his court.
“There’s going to be a basket going around because I’m running for Traffic Court judge, right, and I need some money,” Singletary said while campaigning in the primary.
“Now, you all want me to get there. You’re all going to need my hookup, right?”
Voters know little to nothing about the candidates when they vote for judge. In many instances they are voting completely blind for unqualified people without minimum qualifications who only get elected because they paid off ward leader and party officials.
Consequently voters elect people like Willie Singletary who repeatedly exercise poor judgment while sitting in judgment of others.
Singletary’s election and time served as a Traffic Court judge has been a mockery of the courts system. He is exhibit A of why electing judges is a serious problem.